'Mad' Max Papis Visits Darlington Raceway


DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 1, 2009) – Max Papis will attempt to qualify the No. 13 GEICO Toyota for the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com on May 9 and was in Darlington today for a sneak peek at the track known as “Too Tough to Tame.”

Papis, the 2004 Rolex Grand-Am Series Champion, visited the track with longtime NASCAR veteran Randy LaJoie and turned some laps in a passenger car to get a feel for what he will experience next week when his team arrives in Darlington.

“I am so excited to get here for the Southern 500,” said Papis. “Darlington is known around the world as one of the toughest tracks there is and to race here with all of the history at this place will be a real treat.”

Widely regarded as one of the most versatile racecar drivers in the world, ‘Mad’ Max Papis will be behind the wheel of the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for twenty races in 2009.  The former Formula 1 driver and 2004 Rolex Grand-Am Series Champion has led the way for GEICO as they are making their maiden voyage into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after spending eight years in NASCAR’s number two series.

Papis was born in Como, Italy, and now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina.   He has made over 100 open wheel race starts, including two prior Indianapolis 500 starts, while also serving as a test driver for NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports.  Papis has also participated in NASCAR’s number two series, where he recorded a third place finish on August 4, 2007 in Montreal. 

Aside from recording three wins in the former CART Series, Papis has been one of the top competitors in American sports-car racing.  He posted wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000 and 2002, as well as a Grand-American Rolex Sports Car Series championship in 2004.  As a member of GM’s Corvette Racing team, Papis has recorded two wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans, as well as two runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Papis is the son-in-law of legendary racecar driver Emerson Fittipaldi.

Darlington Raceway or the track “Too Tough to Tame” as it is known to many, is where the purest of NASCAR competition meets true southern hospitality. A NASCAR staple since 1950, Darlington Raceway has seen some of motorsports most talented drivers thunder to Victory Lane. In 2009, a NASCAR tradition, the Southern 500® presented by GoDaddy.com, will return as Darlington Raceway celebrates 60 Seasons of Racing.

Be a part of history when Darlington Raceway celebrates 60 years of racing in 2009. Tickets to the 2009 Southern 500® presented by GoDaddy.com, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 are on-sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at http://www.darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.

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